What is the difference between a core PHP and a vanilla/plain PHP?

While developing, there’s often a confusion between a core PHP developer and a vanilla/plain PHP developer. This article will explain a difference between these terms to avoid further confusion.

Core PHP

Core PHP describes the main engine of the PHP language itself and doesn’t mean developing something with the PHP language directly. So a core PHP developer writes C code and extends the PHP core or develops PHP extensions, which are written in C programming language. Often times, core PHP is referred to as PHP internals also.

Vanilla or plain PHP

A vanilla PHP developer or plain PHP developer is developing an application using the PHP language without any 3rd party libraries or frameworks. So the vanilla developer actually uses the language used in the name.


As long as you are writing PHP code, you are a vanilla or plain PHP developer. If you are however writing on the PHP core itself, you can be considered a core PHP developer.

See also